Texas House Passes State Schools Measure

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas House Monday voted to improve security and oversight of the state's large state institutions for the mentally disabled.

Lawmakers seek to improve the state schools in the wake of a 2008 federal report that said the civil rights of residents were routinely being violated.

Gov. Rick Perry had declared the issue a legislative emergency. The Senate passed a similar bill in March. The legislative session ends June 1.

Several now-former employees at the Corpus Christi State School have been charged with staging "fight club" style battles between residents.

Rep. Abel Herrero of Robstown says it should be the beginning of the state finally meeting its legal, ethical and moral obligation to taking care of ... its most vulnerable population.

Texas has 13 state schools overall house nearly 5,000 residents.

The House bill re-names them as "state supported living centers."

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